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Head Of Smithsonian’s Business Unit To Step Down

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Smithsonian American Art Museum

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The president of the Smithsonian Institution’s profit-making arm has announced he will step down from the unit that oversees the media, retail and licensing functions of the museum complex.

Tom Ott announced Thursday that he will leave Smithsonian Enterprises in March 2012. The former publishing executive from Time Inc. led the business unit since August 2007.

Ott reorganized the unit formerly known as Smithsonian Business Ventures. It came under fire in 2007 after an audit showed executives were given large salaries and bonuses even as they failed to meet financial targets. An audit also found the former chief executive charged the Smithsonian for luxury travel and expenses.

In announcing Ott’s departure, the Smithsonian says Ott grew profits each year. It says the unit generates $140 million annually for the Smithsonian.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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